Author: Jens Christian Grøndahl
“Ellinor is seventy. Her husband Georg has just passed away, and she is struck with the need to confide in someone. She addresses Anna, her long-dead best friend, who was also Georg’s first wife. Fully aware of the absurdity of speaking to someone who cannot hear her, Ellinor nevertheless finds it meaningful to divulge long-held secrets and burdens of her past: her mother’s heartbreaking pride; Ellinor’s courtship with her first husband; their seemingly charmed friendship with Anna and Georg; the disastrous ski trip that shattered the two couples’ lives.”
Have you ever sat down in a waiting room for a doctor’s appointment or an interview and decide to pick up a magazine? And in that magazine, you find a long-ish article that looks interesting? But a 1/4 of the way in you’re bored but decide that if you stick to it, you’ll get to the juicy part only to find that 3/4 of the way it’s still boring but you finish it anyway because there’s only a little left? Yeah, that’s how it felt reading this book.
It really did sound like a book with an interesting plot but everything fell so flat because Ellinor was such a passive, wet blanket of a narrator. There is just no other way to describe her. The book had none of the mystery, drama, or romance that the jacket promised. In fact, it felt like the book had no emotion whatsoever.
Even though Ellinor was emotional in certain scenarios, I didn’t connect with any of it. From the start of the book, I was bored. But I stuck around because I thought when Ellinor revealed the affair between Anna and Henning (her husband before Georg) it would pick up. It ended up being a waste because the book didn’t ever pick up.
Sailing through Ellinor’s memories with her at the helm wasn’t fun. Throughout her entire life, she did almost nothing she truly wanted. Things happened to her and she went with it with little or no objection. There’s nothing wrong with living such a life, but reading about it was boring.
There was a part where she called her step daughter-in-law’s Filipino nanny a negro and it let me know that white people are terrible all over the world. So that’s something that jumped off the page for me.
I wouldn’t recommend this book. It’s not a super offensive waste of time, but as I read, it became a way to pass the time. There was no active engagement for me. Hard pass on this one.